I first met Kristie Storms during a body Workshop in Las Vegas. I was supporting a friend and Bold was supporting the movement. Kristie had heard of the workshop through Instagram and came to learn more about herself, meet folks within the community, etc. She was one of a few friends that I really connected with, that weekend. And, I am so grateful for our encounter.
I remember an immediate draw to Kristie. She was being interviewed by the production folks (perhaps for further promotion?) and she had this bright glowing smile while on camera and otherwise! I was very open to meeting new folks that weekend and was grateful for the experience. I thought, “Perhaps I can meet professional contacts for Bold.”
I had no idea who Kristie was or what she was about. She’d mentioned she recognized me from the internet and I recognized her, as well. I think we both followed each other and followed the event host. The plus size communities we think are enormous are actually quite small.
So Kristie and I got to talking at one of the tables during session break. She’d mentioned furthering her education and teaching at Texas Tech for some time. She was looking to earn her PhD and wanted to find some folks to do research with. Now… research that usually comes from the academy is is usually esoteric and not valuable. But, Kristie had some fun ideas about growth mindset that I found interesting, especially since that’s more of a “pop psychology” idea. It’s something lots of folks want to read about. And a brain from Texas Tech? I wanted to connect!
I really wanted to branch into some weight discrimination research because it definitely adds to the value of both Bold and my CV. So, this took some negotiation! I, as the “Super Cool Already Doctor” (yeah right) asked her if she’d be okay with doing some research that I was interested in if I supported her, as well. I believe we used the phrase “research baby.” I’m sorry to say I didn’t follow up with Kristie’s CV much in the past year, so I don’t know if she still considers herself a “research baby.”
Of course Kristie obliged when asked to support our separate ideas. What a fun and refreshing conversation with an amicable personality to go along with that drawing smile. And, she was VERY smart. To be honest, I was a little shocked that my worlds were colliding: Academia, body positivity… I liked it!
Kristie and I developed a friendship over the next few weeks that involved discussing research and she even wrote a few articles for Bold, like the one about the time she met Tess Holliday. I was always so glad to hear from Kristie and tried to introduce her to folks while respecting her very limited time.
Kristie and I maintained conversation over the next year or so, ranging from complaining about research and work to deleting dating apps and even sharing birthday wishes. It was wonderful to have a colleague to bounce ideas off of. Unfortunately, as I began to recluse over the course 2019 and 2020 for other reasons, we didn’t stay as in touch as I wanted to. But, her shining smile would pop up on my social media feeds every so often and I remembered what a wonderful conversation we’d had when we met in September of 2018.
That was, until I received a message from a friend of Kristie’s this week, who told me of her sudden passing. At the age of 34 (or any age for that matter), I can think only that no amount of warning would have been enough for her close friends and family. I for one was shocked.
Kristie’s university has published some articles about her passing with quotes from folks who knew her way better than I did. In the short few conversations that I’d had with her over the course of a year, it was apparent that her glow was internal as well as external. I can only imagine the light that has left their lives:
Kristie Storms, you are missed already. And, the various circles you glowed in will forever be changed. Thank you for being bold and may God bless your family and friends as they mourn your loss.